What is it like to publish in SAGE Open?

SAGE_Open_RGB300ppiIn Part 2 of our conversation with SAGE Open researcher Dr. Wellen and SAGE Open article editor, Dr. Pinfield, we asked the researchers to let us know what their experiences with SAGE Open were like (see Dr. Wellen’s new article on the disruptive powers of open access publishing and MOOCs here). While their answers were very helpful for our SAGE Open team, we thought we’d share them with you all to shed some light on what it is like to write for and edit an open access journal at SAGE.

  1. Dr. Wellen, why did you decide to submit your paper to SAGE Open?
Dr. Richard Wellen

Dr. Richard Wellen

Dr. Wellen: I was invited to submit to another journal, but I wasn’t sure that the paper would fit within that journal’s scope and I didn’t welcome the prospect of pursuing the kind of revisions I anticipated they might require to make it fit. In fact, I was attracted by the broader scope of SAGE Open and intrigued by the megajournal concept and open access in general, so SAGE Open was a logical choice.

2. Dr. Pinfield, why did you decide to serve as an Article Editor for SAGE Open?

Dr. Stephen Pinfield

Dr. Stephen Pinfield

Dr. Pinfield: I have a research interest in scholarly practice and communication in general and in openness in particular. I agreed to serve as Article Editor not only because I was interested in the subject of Richard Wellen’s paper but also because I was interested in seeing how an open-access mega-journal works in practice.

3. What was your experience like with SAGE Open? Was it what you expected with an open access megajournal?

Dr. Wellen: I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised about the quality, thoroughness, and  speed of the review. I thought the feedback and assessment might be less engaged and I didn’t expect as many requests for improvements and insightful criticisms. In the case of a megajournal there is some expectation that the review process might not go beyond a bare bones judgment of adequacy. As it turned out, the review did help me recognize and overcome some of the shortcomings of the originally submitted draft.

Dr. Pinfield: I think the Article Editor model implemented by SAGE Open, where an individual is asked to act as editor for each article and seek reviewers for that particular paper, is an interesting one. I was prompted to think whether it is sustainable in the medium or long term, or whether Section Editors may in future need to be appointed to handle some of this work. Nevertheless, it was an interesting experience. One potential practical disadvantage of the Article Editor approach is that each Article Editor potentially has to learn a new system for managing the peer-review process on a one-off basis. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy SAGE Open staff made it for me to carry out the role without such barriers delaying the job. The input of the SAGE editorial staff will it seems to me be important in future not just to smooth business processes like this but also (and more importantly) to ensure consistency of approach from different Article Editors and reviewers, and therefore deliver an evenness of quality standards. This, and other mechanisms for achieving high quality, will be essential if mega-journals are to establish themselves as credible in the academic community driven as it is by the currency of reputation. What I have seen here represents a good start.

Read part 1 of our conversation with Dr. Wellen and Dr. Pinfield, which sheds light on Dr. Wellen’s new study on open access and MOOCs here.

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